Why You Still Need an Estate Plan

Many people believe that estate planning is only for the ultra-wealthy, a belief that has been exacerbated over the past several years with a markedly increased unified estate and gift tax credit ($5.45 million per individual in 2016). While it’s true that estate and gift tax planning was a common reason for estate planning within recent years, the belief that it is the only or most important reason is a common misconception. Read More

Disclaiming Retirement Benefits

In a previous article, we discussed what to consider when naming your retirement plan beneficiary. This article addresses an additional point to take into account if you’ve decided to list your adult children as outright beneficiaries “per stirpes” – meaning that if the adult child predeceases you, his or her children will equally share the predeceased beneficiary’s share. Read More

IRA Charitable Rollover Made Permanent

Thanks to the year-end tax and budget deal which was signed into law by Congress on December 18, 2015, the Charitable IRA Rollover has been made a permanent part of the U.S. Tax Code. The change allows you to transfer up to $100,000 per year of your pre-tax IRA to a public charity without being required to include the distribution in your taxable income. In order to exclude the income, you must forego the charitable income tax deduction. Read More

Pet Related Tax Deductions

While only California has begun a movement to treat pets as dependents, there are a number of deductions already available within the federal tax code that can be applicable to pets in certain situations. Do any of these scenarios apply to you and your pet? Read More

Tax Consequences of a Michigan-Florida Residence Change

If you are a Michigan resident who spends more than half of your year in Florida, you may be wondering whether it is advantageous to officially change your residence to Florida. As with all tax and estate planning matters, the answer will vary depending upon your unique situation. However, the most common considerations deal with income taxes and exemptions for homestead (Florida) and principal residence (Michigan). Read More

Gifting to Grandchildren: The GSTT

Did you know that if you leave money directly to your grandchildren, the funds may be taxed twice? The Generation Skipping Transfer Tax (GSTT) is responsible. Understanding the GSTT requires a discussion of both of life’s two certainties – death and taxes. Read More

Naming Your Retirement Plan Beneficiary

You’ve taken the time to list your spouse and children as beneficiaries on your work sponsored retirement plan or IRA (“retirement plan”), but are they listed individually, or as beneficiaries to a trust? The answer is important, because each achieves a very different outcome. Read More